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Home studio: How to create one

Sometimes it’s not possible to shoot when the lighting is too harsh, too dim or if your subject is unevenly lit. Here is where having your own home studio helps.

Home studio [1]
CC image courtesy of Mark Pascale

Location: If you have an empty room or least-used room in your house, it’s the perfect place to set up a home studio. Perhaps the garage or a spare bedroom.

Re-decorate: Buy two gallons of paint and paint it yourself. Avoid black, and use any color you think is a most suitable background for your kind of shoots. If most of those photo shoots will be portraits, the best bet would be to opt for red, pink, blue, green, yellow or white. Why? Because you can match a client’s dress or accessories with the backdrop more easily. If you don’t like having colors on your walls, the safest bet is to keep one wall white and the other grey.

Strobes [2]
CC image courtesy of Lee Bennett

Lighting: This is key to the success of your home studio. Buy a continuous lighting stand unit: two  7’ stands, one mini stand and four umbrellas (2 white, 1 black/silver, 1 black/gold). And yes, you can always buy strobe light kits. They are light, portable and take up much less space.

[3]CC image courtesy of Sam Ryan

Props: Take furniture from your drawing room, buy two stools, a sofa, a bench, two armoires (for storage), a card table, folding chairs and two mirrors. And yes, don’t forget backdrops – create!

Scout online: Don’t be in a hurry to buy stuff. Wait for it to become cheaper online. Sites like craigslist are meant for just this. Buy second-hand furniture –  Buy second-hand studio lights. Ask around on Facebook to see  if any of your contacts are selling any of their stuff. You never know how much you end up saving by following the patience rule.

Seek advice: Feel free to ask fellow photographers on what they would suggest for your home studio that is economical and worthy enough for the long term.

Good luck,

~Zahid H Javali